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Essays on Twentieth-Century German Drama and Theater

An American Reception 1977-1999


Hellmut Hal Rennert

This collection of articles by both German literature specialists and German theater experts grew out of the Comparative Drama Conference held annually between February and March from 1977 to 1999 in Gainesville, Florida. At the center of the contributors’ work is the productive tension between the literary and the performance aspects of German drama and theater. At the same time, the reception is truly American, since the German playwrights, directors, theorists, and dramatists discussed have gone through creative filters in the researching, performing, and teaching of German drama and theater on various campuses across the United States during the last third of the twentieth century.
Contents: William R. Elwood: Incoherence as Meaning: From the Real to the Expressive – Dean Wilcox: Sign and Referent in the Work of Robert Wilson. Reconstituting the Human Form – Jan Lüder Hagens: Forging a Link Between Stage and World. The Genre of Director’s Drama – Sarah Bryant-Bertail: Spatio-Temporality as Theater Performance – Harris L. Gruman: The Uses of Audience Participation. Theater’s Engagement in Social Experience – William E. Gruber: Building an Audience. Craig’s and Brecht’s Theories of Dramatic Performance – William R. Elwood: Georg Kaiser’s Von Morgens bis Mitternachts as a Metaphor for Chaos – William R. Elwood: Ernst Toller’s Masse-Mensch. The Individual versus the Collective – William R. Elwood: Hasenclever’s Sinnenglück und Seelenfrieden as Metaphor for Suicide – William R. Elwood: Reinhard Goering’s Seeschlacht and the Expressionist Vision – William R. Elwood: Mankind and Sun: German-American Expressionism – William R. Elwood: Expressionism and Deconstructionism: A Critical Comparison – Glen W. Gadberry: Arnolt Bronnen’s Austro-Expressionist War Plays Sturm gegen Gott and sturmpatrull – Glen W. Gadberry: The Theater in and of the Third Reich: The German Stage «In [entitled] Extremis» – William Sonnega: Anti War Discourse in War Drama. Sigmund Graff and Die endlose Strasse – Glen W. Gadberry: An «Ancient German Rediscovered»: The Nazi Widukind Plays of Forster and Kiß – Glen W. Gadberry: Stages of Reform. Caroline Neuber/Die Neuberin in the Third Reich – Leigh Clemons: Gewalt, Gott, Natur, Volk: The Performance of Nazi Ideology in Kolbenheyer’s Gregor und Heinrich – Glen W. Gadberry: Gerhart Hauptmann’s Ratten (1911) at the Rose (1936) – William Grange: Rules, Regulations, and the Reich: Comedy under the Auspices of the Propaganda Ministry – Graley Herren: The Performance of Ideology and Dialectics in Brecht’s Life of Galileo – Julie Klassen/Ruth Weiner: Reviving Brecht: Transformations, or the Reciprocity of Outward Signs and Inward States – John C. Nichols: Saving the Fallen City of Mahagonny: The Musical Elaboration of Brecht’s Epic Theater – Rebecca Hilliker: Brecht’s Gestic Vision for Opera: Why the Shock of Recognition is More Powerful in the Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny than in The Three Penny Opera – Leslie Ellis: Brecht’s Life of Galileo as an Aristotelian Tragedy – Hellmut Hal Rennert: Max Frisch’s The Great Wall of China and the Language of Re-Emergence – Jürgen Schlunk: A Fictional Response to Political Circumstance: Martin Walser’s The Rabbit Race – Patricia Stanley: Wolfgang Hildesheimer’s Das Opfer Helena: Another Triumph of the «They» – Christa Carvajal: Cry Beyond the Hamlets: Peter Handke’s Dramatic Poem and the Tragic Tradition – Julie Klassen: The Rebellion of the Body Against the Effect of Ideas. Heiner Müller’s Concept of Tragedy – William R. Elwood: Darkness Visible: Peter Turrini and the Scripted Life – Andreas Ryschka: Woman Takes Center Stage: Three Versions of «The Female Condition» on the German Theater Stage Today – Britta Kallin: The Representation of Foreigners in German and Austrian Plays of the 1990s by Female Playwrights – Ralf Remshardt: Conquering the South Pole and Other Places in Germany. Manfred Karge’s Plays.